A Boston company that helps inventors and small companies enforce their patents filed a series of lawsuits this week against e-discovery company kCura, developer of the Relativity search and review platform, and several of kCura’s partners, alleging violation of a patent for concept-based visual presentation of search results.

The plaintiff, Blackbird Technologies, a company formed by two former patent litigation partners at WilmerHale and Kirkland & Ellis, alleges that kCura and its partners are violating U.S. Patent No. 7,809,717, which Blackbird says it owns by assignment.

In addition to kCura, Blackbird has filed separate lawsuits against Innovative Discovery, UnitedLex Corporation, System One Holdings, Advanced Discovery, Xact Data Services, TransPerfect, LDiscovery and EvD Inc. (now a subsidiary of Ubic.) The lawsuits were all filed June 7 in the U.S. District Court in Delaware.

Blackbird claims that the concept-search feature within Relativity violates its patent.

Defendant has directly infringed claims 1 and 10, for example, by using e-discovery systems (e.g., Relativity v9.3 in conjunction with a computer system) to perform a concept search with integrated keyword search. Defendant has directly infringed claims 16 and 25, for example, by making, using, importing, selling and/or offering to sell a computer system, called an “appliance” by Defendant, loaded with e-discovery software (e.g., Relativity v9.3) capable of performing a concept search with integrated keyword search.

Blackbird’s complaint against kCura further alleges that by encouraging third-party hosting providers to use Relativity and its concept-search feature, kCura “knowingly and intentionally actively induces the infringement.”

The complaints against kCura’s partners allege that their use and provision to others of the Relativity software constitutes an infringement of the patent. (Here, for example, is the complaint against Advanced Discovery.)

None of the defendants have yet filed answers to the complaints. After the lawsuits were filed, kCura sent the following notice to its partners:

We wanted to let you know that yesterday a series of complaints were filed against kCura-and several partners we’ve already spoken with-by a known patent troll, Blackbird Tech LLC, engaging us in litigation related to U.S. patent 7,809,717, entitled, “Method and Apparatus for Concept-based Visual Presentation of Search Results.”

Based on our legal team’s initial review, this case has no merit. We plan to vigorously defend against these claims, and honor our contractual defense and indemnity obligations. We are confident in our position.

This case should have no effect on your use of Relativity, or the support you receive from kCura, but we did want you to know that we’re aware of the situation and are addressing it appropriately.

If you have any questions, please feel free to direct them to your account manager.

A kCura fact sheet dated May 15, 2016, says that Relativity has 135,796 active users and 105,814 active cases currently running.

We’ll continue to follow developments in this case.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.